In a baffling display of misplaced priorities, the Himachal Pradesh government, spearheaded by Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, is preparing to commemorate its first anniversary in office despite the state grappling with a burgeoning financial crisis. The impending celebration, scheduled to unfold in Dharamshala, has triggered widespread concerns and instigated a deeper investigation into the government’s decision-making processes.

Himachal Pradesh’s economic distress has reached unprecedented levels, with the current administration accumulating a staggering debt of over Rs. 11,000 crore in the last 10 months alone. This has propelled the state’s total debt to an alarming Rs. 75,000 crore, an unprecedented figure in the state’s history.

During a recent Convocation ceremony at the University of Horticulture and Forestry Nauni, Chief Minister Sukhu candidly acknowledged the challenging economic landscape. He expressed deep-seated concerns about individual debts surpassing Rs. 1 lakh per person and the unsustainable dependence on continual borrowing. However, the government’s decision to proceed with an extravagant anniversary celebration, despite the inability to generate sufficient funds for basic expenses and reliance on central funds for developmental activities, raises serious questions about the rationale behind such festivities.

The lavish celebration is poised to exacerbate the already strained state exchequer, further burdening a state grappling with the aftermath of monsoon rains. Estimated losses exceeding Rs. 12,000 crore have left roads and bridges washed away, government and private buildings in ruins, and thousands homeless. Yet, the government appears more fixated on grandiosity than addressing the urgent needs of its citizens.

The sorry state of Himachal Pradesh’s infrastructure is glaring, with roads pockmarked by potholes, rampant illegal parking causing daily traffic jams, and Shimla, the capital city, becoming a nightmare for travellers. The government’s apparent disregard for these pressing issues further raises doubts about its commitment to effective governance.

A damning revelation surfaces when considering that such events are not exclusive to the present government. Earlier administrations too indulged in such ostentatious displays, squandering crores of rupees from the state exchequer. The time has come for a collective realization of the emptiness inherent in such futile celebrations, urging a refocusing on genuine governance. Chief Minister Sukhu’s frequent assertions of ushering in ‘Vyavastha Parivartan’ on official occasions clash starkly with the current celebration and the hollow boasting of achievements, which may not yield any tangible benefits for the general public.

In a state constrained by limited resources, the decision to prioritize a celebratory event over addressing the economic downturn and infrastructure challenges prompts citizens to question the sincerity and responsibility of their elected leaders. As Himachal Pradesh struggles beneath the weight of its financial burdens, the government’s choice to celebrate its first anniversary raises serious doubts about its ability to govern effectively and responsibly. The extravagant festivities stand in stark contrast to the stark reality faced by the people of Himachal Pradesh, prompting a critical examination of the government’s priorities in these challenging times.